Nearly 50 Colorado schools closed due to two ‘extremely contagious’ stomach viruses

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Mesa County Valley School District 51 has closed all of its 47 schools through Thanksgiving break due to the spread of two contagious stomach viruses among student and staff. Pictured: Appleton Elementary School, one of the closed schools
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Nearly 50 Colorado schools in one district closed after two mysterious and ‘extremely contagious’ stomach viruses spread to HUNDREDS of students and staff

  • Mesa County Valley School District 51 in western Colorado has closed all 47 of its schools through Thanksgiving break
  • Two stomach viruses have affected hundreds of students and staff, causing fever and vomiting
  • The illness hasn’t been identified but health officials say it lasts 12 to 24 hours and is behaving similarly to norovirus, the ‘stomach bug’
  • Custodial staff members are currently disinfecting all the buildings 

A western Colorado school district has closed each one of its 47 schools due to an ‘unprecedented spread’ of two ‘extremely contagious’ viruses among students and staff, officials said Wednesday. 

Mesa County Valley School District 51 said all of the schools will be closed through Thanksgiving break and will reopen on Monday, December 2.

Officials said this is the first time that a district-wide closure of school buildings has been necessary.

‘We are taking this highly unusual action because this virus is extremely contagious and spreading quickly across our schools,’ district nursing coordinator Tanya Marvin said in a statement.

‘In addition, it appears that there is now a second, related virus that is affecting students, some of whom have already been ill in recent weeks. The combination of the two has created an unprecedented spread of illness.’   

Mesa County Valley School District 51 has closed all of its 47 schools through Thanksgiving break due to the spread of two contagious stomach viruses among student and staff. Pictured: Appleton Elementary School, one of the closed schools

Earlier this month, more than a dozen schools noticed a rise in absences, ‘due to illness and several incidences of vomiting in public areas of the schools,’ the Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPH) said. 

District and health department officials say vomiting is a symptom of both viruses and fever is a symptom of the send virus.

According to the health department, the illnesses last between 12 and 24 and are ‘acting a lot’ like norovirus.

Norovirus, the so-called ‘stomach bug’, is a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea and sickens 19 to 21 million people per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The MCPH has asked doctors and clinicians to provide stool samples from infected patients so it can attempt to identify the illness. 

‘The decision to close is the right move,’ Jeff Kuhr, executive director of the MCPH, said in a statement.

‘Past experience with these type of viruses tell us having a period of time away from close person-to-person contact can be instrumental in these illnesses running their course.’ 

The buildings are currently being disinfected, and students and parents are asked to wash their hands to stop and not share personal care items to prevent spreading illnesses.

District 51 includes 24 elementary schools, eight middle schools, six high schools, four alternative schools, three charter schools and two K-12 schools.

According to the district’s website, the schools host 22,105 students and 2,685 teachers and staff members.

‘We understand that a district-wide closure is an inconvenience to families and a rare step to take,’ Dr Diana Sirko, District 51’s superintendent, said in a statement.

‘While our custodial crews are working tirelessly to disinfect schools, the rapid spread of illness has led us to the conclusion that closing all schools to allow our custodial crews and environmental health and safety team to perform an intense cleaning of the school buildings is the best course of action.’





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Nearly 50 Colorado schools in one district closed after two mysterious and ‘extremely contagious’ stomach viruses spread to HUNDREDS of students and staff

  • Mesa County Valley School District 51 in western Colorado has closed all 47 of its schools through Thanksgiving break
  • Two stomach viruses have affected hundreds of students and staff, causing fever and vomiting
  • The illness hasn’t been identified but health officials say it lasts 12 to 24 hours and is behaving similarly to norovirus, the ‘stomach bug’
  • Custodial staff members are currently disinfecting all the buildings 

A western Colorado school district has closed each one of its 47 schools due to an ‘unprecedented spread’ of two ‘extremely contagious’ viruses among students and staff, officials said Wednesday. 

Mesa County Valley School District 51 said all of the schools will be closed through Thanksgiving break and will reopen on Monday, December 2.

Officials said this is the first time that a district-wide closure of school buildings has been necessary.

‘We are taking this highly unusual action because this virus is extremely contagious and spreading quickly across our schools,’ district nursing coordinator Tanya Marvin said in a statement.

‘In addition, it appears that there is now a second, related virus that is affecting students, some of whom have already been ill in recent weeks. The combination of the two has created an unprecedented spread of illness.’   

Mesa County Valley School District 51 has closed all of its 47 schools through Thanksgiving break due to the spread of two contagious stomach viruses among student and staff. Pictured: Appleton Elementary School, one of the closed schools

Earlier this month, more than a dozen schools noticed a rise in absences, ‘due to illness and several incidences of vomiting in public areas of the schools,’ the Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPH) said. 

District and health department officials say vomiting is a symptom of both viruses and fever is a symptom of the send virus.

According to the health department, the illnesses last between 12 and 24 and are ‘acting a lot’ like norovirus.

Norovirus, the so-called ‘stomach bug’, is a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea and sickens 19 to 21 million people per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The MCPH has asked doctors and clinicians to provide stool samples from infected patients so it can attempt to identify the illness. 

‘The decision to close is the right move,’ Jeff Kuhr, executive director of the MCPH, said in a statement.

‘Past experience with these type of viruses tell us having a period of time away from close person-to-person contact can be instrumental in these illnesses running their course.’ 

The buildings are currently being disinfected, and students and parents are asked to wash their hands to stop and not share personal care items to prevent spreading illnesses.

District 51 includes 24 elementary schools, eight middle schools, six high schools, four alternative schools, three charter schools and two K-12 schools.

According to the district’s website, the schools host 22,105 students and 2,685 teachers and staff members.

‘We understand that a district-wide closure is an inconvenience to families and a rare step to take,’ Dr Diana Sirko, District 51’s superintendent, said in a statement.

‘While our custodial crews are working tirelessly to disinfect schools, the rapid spread of illness has led us to the conclusion that closing all schools to allow our custodial crews and environmental health and safety team to perform an intense cleaning of the school buildings is the best course of action.’





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